The good news is that losing or misplacing your DD 214 is an easily solved problem!
For starters, let’s go ahead and define what a DD 214 is and what it is used for:
A DD 214 (short for Defense Department 214) form is issued to military members upon retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty. Also called a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, this paperwork lists the details of the veteran’s status during the time they changed to inactive and if they left honorably or dishonorably.
DD 214 forms are a vital part of getting a California VA loan for those applicants who are no longer in the military. They are required by the federal government in order to prove you are eligible for a VA loan.
Remember that a Certificate of Release is not just for getting approved for a VA loan, so it’s generally a good idea to have yours accessible. You can use this paperwork to qualify for a variety of additional veteran benefits.
There are different ways you can acquire this paperwork:
- Veterans receive a copy of their DD 214 when they leave active duty. They get their form regardless of the circumstances behind their leaving.
- If you are a spouse(note: you can’t be re-married), a parent, or a child or sibling of a veteran, you can get a copy of from either the National Archives or the U.S. Department of Defense.
If you did receive your DD 214 when you left active duty but have misplaced or lost it, you can also get a copy of it through the National Archives or the U.S. Department of Defense.
For veterans, Certificate of Release copies are typically free of charge, although spouses and family might have to pay a nominal fee.
To request a copy, you will first need to fill out Standard Form 180 (also known as SF 180). You can download a copy of it HERE.
After you have filled out both sides of SF 180 you can then either fax or mail it to the address listed on the bottom. Simple enough!
Once you have your DD 214, be sure to confirm that it has the following information:
- Your complete name during your time of service.
- Date of birth.
- Your specific service branch.
- The dates of your service.
- Your social security number.
- Your service number.
As we already mentioned earlier in the article, having a DD 214 form is absolutely essential in applying for and getting approved for a VA loan. If you do not currently have yours, you should request a copy of it as soon as possible, even if you are not currently shopping for a new mortgage or refinance.
This will ensure that when you do begin the VA loan process your approval won’t be held up waiting for the form to arrive.
Once you have your DD214 in hand, you can provide it to a California VA lender who can help to quickly retrieve your Certificate of Eligibility, a necessary step to closing a VA loan on a California home.
Authored by Tim Storm, a California VA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loans. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial. My direct line is 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of the your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.